Sunday, December 14, 2014

My dearest Family,

How i miss you guys this christmas season. Things are sure picking up around here and we are busy with all the Christmas devoctionals that we will be having with all the zones around here next week. We have also been trying to contact many more people using the new video Él es la Dadiva (or He is the Gift…in English). And I just love this time of year. You can feel a difference in peoples attitudes and feel the Christmas spirit…the only thing throwing me off…is it is getting hotter, we don’t hear much Christmas music going on, there are zero lights up on the houses and I don’t have a Christmas tree up in my house….yet. J But there is a beautiful one set up in the mission home that sure makes me happy.

Just want to first off say thanks to all those who sent me happy birthday wishes! Cant believe I am 20 years old now. Im so old!!! When did that happen!!??!! But I had a great birthday. Started out in the morning with the whole office coming into my room and singing happy birthday to me before they broke eggs all over me and dumped flour and chocolate all over my head and back as well! Yes it is a Peruvian tradicion here to make a cake out of you on your b-day! So tradicion complete. J I will send pics of my egging. I also had my face get smashed into a cake that the zone bought me. On cleaner matters….lunch was spent at T.G.I. Friday s and I spoiled myself and bought me the hot wings platter! I can not tell you how good those wings were. Maybe they were really bad on American standards but after not having them for almost 17 months….they were FANTASTIC! The waiters there also came out with instruments and sang happy birthday to me and then gave me a free chocolate cookie with icecream stuffed in the middle and glazed over with chocolate and caramel. J Yum yum yum. It should be my birthday everyday. J That night we went to the mission home for a farewell little gathering for all those that left for their homes this change. I was able to direct the proceedings and it turned out to be a nice evening full of the spirit as we got to hear their testimonies and experiences from their missions. Sure going to miss some of my good friends that left…but I know I will see them here shortly at the BYU. Speaking of that…mom when do I need to start selecting my classes? I heard something about February??

But President that night went out and personally bought me a cake too for my birthday. What a great guy president Zobrist. Love him so much. He is the best president ever.

Other news that has happened around these parts of Arequipa…it sad that we are having to send home 2 other elders for reasons of health. One of our best elders here just developed diabetes and lost 10-15 pounds in a week and we had to ship him off very fast so that they could get him better medical treatment there in the states. Another elder is going home because he is going blind and has to have an operation on his eyes and we almost had to send another one to his house due to his knee that has bone on bone rubbing. But it looks like he will be able to stay afterall…he only has 3 months left anyways and he wants to toughen it out to the end. Really sad to see all that happen just this last week. Kinda been a headache for us here in the office but things are quieting down…but are shortly going to be picking back up. Because tonight we have to call everyone for their changes. Tomorrow we are going down to Moquegua with President and Hermana Zobrist for a Christmas Concert that I have been asked to play at. Whew, I tell you what. I am tired of traveling to play. :) haha and I was asked to play in the ward primary program as well. but I guess as president told me…”Elder, you have a talent, you gotta use it.” So that is what I will be doing. J

So yeah that is what is happening around here. This next week we will be busy with all the Christmas devotionals with all the zones here in the mission. We have some get togethers el 17, 18, and 20 (Wednesday, Thursday, Sabado). Then on the 15 and 16 (Monday and Tuesday) we will be training the new trainers and then receiving all the new missionaries in the mission. Fun no? All week long will be crazy. But it will be fun. Then Saturday is kacie´s wedding and then the next week is Christmas and WE GET TO TALK!!!! And then December is practically over. Oh my gosh…were is time going?

Well there is my update from Arequipa. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for everything again. I love you all very much. Know that I have a testimony of the gospel and that I know its true. It really is!

Serve, love, be true to the faith.

Con mucho amor,



 Elder Birtcher
 Misión Perú-Arequipa

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hola todos :)

 Again, another hecktic week with all that we have been doing with the mission and with changes and getting ready for la navidad. This last sunday we were in tacna once again for our last Recital musical in my old stake (where i first started the mission). It was so fun and exciting to see all my old friends and ward once again. That was one of my return and see them all once more. crazy that i was there over a year ago. time sure goes by fast. The recital turned out wonderful. Probably one of the best ones we have ever done. We ended on a good note. :) 

However rumor has it that there is a christmas program happening down in Moquegua that i have been asked to go down and play for this next sunday (the 14th). So we will be heading down there with president and hna. Zobrist. 

On last monday we flew back into Arequipa just in time for our leadership training meeting with the ZL and Hermana leaders....that took place monday and tuesday. And i feel it went okay. The mission has sure improved dramatically in numbers, baptisms, rescuing the less actives and the excitement of the mission is up! we are sure happy for the change that we ahve seen and are seeing right now. We will continue on! :) 

And as for this last week...really a lot of office work and getting ready for changes coming up the 14th of December. We got to visit 3 zones as well this last week and train them and make sure all is well with them. So far, so good. 

We now have planned out when we will be doing our 3 christmas parties/conferences with the whole mission and we are trying to plan out days that we can get all the missionaries in Arequipa to go to the Plaza de Armas and sing christmas carols. i think we will do that christmas day in the night time. 

I was just thinking about everything and i sure miss going to the christmas lights at the temple. boy to i miss that. so go to the temple and take a cardboard cut out of me or something so that i can get some of that joy once more. :) 

enjoy this time of season. please do. i miss the lights, the cold, the spirit of the season. Peruvians arent too crazy about their celebration of christmas. not many lights up either due to the possiblility of them getting stolen right off the house. but we are still all happy around here. 

just staying busy and feliz and awake sometimes. 


take care, have a wonderful week. do well on all your finals and look for ways to bless someones life during this christmas season!

love you for always,


 Elder Birtcher
 Misión Perú-Arequipa

Celular: #956-885-626
Oficina: 054-271-48
Buenos dias,
I hope everyone had a fantastic thanksgiving this last weekend :) So many things to be grateful for. We certainly have more blessings than we can ever count. Thats why i thank you dad for telling and teaching us kids...give thanks to god for the blessings seen and unseen that the lord gives you. It is so true.
We passed Thanksgiving with President in his house :) He invited the office over for some grub. And grub it was!! An amazing turkey and THE BEST STUFFING I HAVE EVER TASTED!!, and mashed potatoes and gravey and PIES!! haha we should be so grateful for just the great food that we have in the states :) 
Well the recital in Tacna this last sunday was another success. We filled up the Tacna Tacna stake center up and we are getting more creative and putting up slide shows full of pictures and videos of the church as we sing. And it is turning out really really great. Getting better each time we do it :) We then stayed Monday through Wednesday in Tacna with the 3 zones and got to visit with them and train them up and had some meetings with them. It was also my companions birthday this last tuesday. So the 3 of us (him, president, and i) went out to eat at a steakhouse which was WONDERFUL! Real American steaks. yum yum. Once we got back to Arequipa on Wednesday we egged him up :) haha let me explain....
here in peru if it is your birthday...the tradicion is to crack eggs all over your head (doesnt matter what you are wearing, suit and tie doesnt matter) and then they pour flour all over you as well. He thought he had escaped the "egging and flouring" because we were in Tacna during his birthday...but the 5 of us in the office sure got him good in the house on Wednesday night!!! hahaha i will send pictures. 
Thursday was spent with President for thanksgiving dinner. and yesterday we were super busy with planning for our zone leaders/sister leaders conference this monday and tuesday, and we are planning for all the things that we will be doing this year for Christmas visits in the mission and the fiestas that go along with those. So this next week will be training again and then going outside of arequipa for divisions and visiting zones. Tomorrow we fly down to Tacna again for our LAST recital musical in my old Zone´s stake!! i am super excited about that! i will get to see all my old friends and pentionista again. But then wew come right back to arequipa for the training. whew. gonna be another fun week. 
they are sure flying by...cant seem to keep events in order, nor figure out when we did what this last change-its been crazy. 
On a personal note...on how i am doing. I am tired hahaha...but i love life. I love being a missionary. I get a little frustrated at times not being able to work much in my area. I wish i could visit and teach more people individually so that i can help them get baptized. but our focus right now is on the mission-and that requires that we go to the whole mission. I understand what this calling requires. and the mission is first. but the lord is helping me along. i can feel his prescence and i know his voice. it is familiar and it is always guiding me. 
I am getting excited for the christmas season. there is a big push for everyone to see the new video that the church has just released "He is the Gift." There is more christmas music being played in the office and the city here in Arequipa. I love this time of year. My companion and i are best of buds. we love working together and i am learning so much from president zobrist. that is one of my learn all i can from him. We sure had a fun time talking on the 4 hr. car ride back to arequipa from tacna. We talked about hunting and camping and our families...great man President Richard Zobrist. I love and sustain my President. 
Well the Arequipa sun is shining very beautifully today. Makes me happy to know that the same sun shines there in AZ over all of you too. Be happy. Be grateful for all that you have. I am happy. 
With all the love i have,

pics: our stay in the Grand Hotel Tacna during my companions birthday :) and companionship unity in teaching and in soccer!!! :)
 Elder Birtcher
 Misión Perú-Arequipa

Celular: #956-885-626
Oficina: 054-271-485 
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Monday, November 24, 2014

just like the title was a very tiring week...and we are only in for another one this week. 

Last monday and tuesday we had a District Leaders conference here in Arequipa, acutally the 1st one that we have ever done here in the mission, and it went AWESOME! we are really trying to focus on them, and help all the leaders excite and pump up their elders and sisters so that we can all have more success here int eh mission. The mission is improving and we are very happy to see our numbers going up and the excitement of the missionaries as well. President and us are planning many activities and things to do so that the mission will continue to improve and reach new heights. 

After our DL training meeting, Cornejo and i headed straight down to my old zone in MOQ for some divisiones with the elderes and see how the zone is doing. We have been doing really great on visiting zones and doing the divisiones so we continued with those this last week. 

and moquegua is doing great. We spent tuesday afternoon and night working with the ZLs and stayed at my old house. However, turned out to be a HORRIBLE night because they had not prepared and didint have any matresses for either of us. so we spent the night on the hard floor....which hurt both our backs and didnt get ANY sleep at all. On Wednesday we did some more divisiones with other elders in the zone and it was fun to help the newbies and get them more stoked to work in their areas and to complete their numbers each and every week. 

Haha wednesday night we couldnt sleep on the ground anymore so we found a little peruvian motel type thing and rented out a room for the night. so much better than killing my back again and being exhausted all day the next day. 

Early thursday morning we headed down even farther to the zone on the ocean front, ilo. where we had a meeting with the zone and trained them a bit and did divisiones all day and into the night with them. then we slept at the zls house for that night.

friday morning was spent in the bus returning to arequipa 4-5hrs. in bus-not very fun. and once we got into the terminal, we went straight to work...and headed over to the mission home for a lunch and conference with all the new missionaries that had arrived this last change and who are just serving here in the city of Arequipa. had great hamburgers and other food...and the conference went well...but we were so tired. then yesterday afternoon was spent with president in the office planning and getting other mission details resolved and taken care of. 

so, in total....i had 1 hr. to work in my own area ALL week long. and that was spent visiting a new convert who is so great! her testimony is growing and she is so faithful and strong. she just recieved her very 1st calling as the primary secretary...and she is excited to serve in that position. 

So crazy week right.....

now we got our little break today for pday...and we will be starting it all up again. 

Tomorrow after church, we head to the Arequipa Airport for our flight down to Tacna. Tomorrow night, i will be performing in the recital musical that they will be having. and monday through wednesday will be divisiones with the 3 zones that are located down there. tuesday will be my companion´s birthday!!! and wednesday night we will be returning back here to Arequipa with presdient and his wife who will also head down there with us. then thursday is THANKSGIVING!!!! president is trying to hook up a turkey bowl with the offcie in the morning and then we have divisions on friday. then i will be talking to you again on saturday.

From what mom´s letter says: you guys are doing great and are having fun. be safe and continue to let me know on what is happening there in the good ole state of AZ. 

love you guys so much. i really do.


1-4-3 always

 Elder Birtcher
 Misión Perú-Arequipa

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mis Queridos,

Finally have a moment to breath i should say. i dont even know where this week went to, it went by so fast. and i can believe we are already half way through november. 

well for your update on this last week. On monday Presidente Zobrist left for Colombia for a mission presidents seminar with all the other presidents in the area and Elder Cornejo and i were put in charge of the mission. So we were Presidente Cornejo and Presidente Birtcher till yesterday afternoon when president rolled in. :) but during the week we were sure busy with divisions. Like i said in my last letter it should take us about 2 months to do divisions with the whole mission...but we have it all planned out to do it in a month. its going to be busy busy busy until Feburary due to all the visits we will be doing, getting the new elders and sending the ending ones off and training the zone leaders, hermana leaders, district leaders this monday and tuesday, christmas visits with president, and then interviews all january is the plan. 

We were in a city outside of Arequipa (about 2 hrs.), called Mollendo, last tuesday. I were able to train the zone a little bit and help them out. a couple of problems are happening out there and we went to solve them and get them to be an effective zone once again. On Thursday we also got to visit a zone (my old old one in Manuel Prado) and teach them and interview the missionaries and see how they are doing. I then got to do divisions in my old area of 15 de Agosto once again. IT WAS FANTASTIC! i got to see so many of my converts and i got to visit some of the new investigators that are there as well as visit my pention and other families. You should have seen their faces when they saw me. I really love those people i got to teach. i really do. so wonderful to see them again and to see how they are doing. and great news from back there: so my one convert, Nelly, told me she has completely read the book of mormon and is reading it again for 2nd time. my other convert, edwin, baptized his younger brother this last month and is preparing to put in his papers for his mission. My family that we helped baptize is active and doing great in the church. my other converts, yandy and wendy are faithful ward missionaries and always are giving references and doing their visits...and they both have been to the temple in lima and did baptisms for the dead. and my other one freddy, is now the 2nd counselor in the elders quorum presidency (he also went to the temple!!). I couldnt be more happy. My joy is full :)

love them so much. and i love being able to go and visit them once more in my mission. other news happening. we have a district leadership training meeting this monday and tuesday which should be interesting...and immeditaley after that training conference, my comp and i will be heading down to my old zone of MOQUEGUA to do divisions and interviews and then on thursday and friday we will be in ilo doing the same thing. and then on next sunday we will be heading down to Tacna for another recital muscial and then to do divisions with the 3 zones down there Monday through Wednesday and maybe Thursday...depending if we get on a plane or not. haha craziness i know. but i couldnt be more happy. the office elders are great and i love living with them and being able to work all together. The wards are great and we are trying to work all the time with the members when we are actually able to work in the area. but...all is well. 


keep up what you are doing, be safe and know that i love you all.

1-4-3 para siempre


 Elder Birtcher
 Misión Perú-Arequipa

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hey Guys,

Well I am now serving in Arequipa....
haha apparently the mission needed a new assistent. so im the one chosen to fill in that gap. :) 
its kinda crazy. i guess i really dont know what to think of it yet. but we are hitting the ground at a full sprint. so i got here today about 2 hrs. ago and we have a training meeting for all the new trainers this change in about 2 hours. tomorrow we have the newbies coming in from the ccm and will be going to pick them up and then train them all up on how the mission is and what they need to do and what to expect. then on wednesday and thursday we have all the zone leaders and sister leaders coming into arequipa for a training meeting. we are booked! some welcome hu?
So just to give you some of the updates on how my schedule will be changing....
pdays will now be on saturdays. so dont expect my letters anymore on mondays. 
My new companion is one of my best friends in the mission: Elder Cornejo from chile. we have always been really great buds and we are so excited to work together. He was actually comps with my former comp elder priebe who just went home and was also comps with elder chipman who i just sent home. haha its funny: inbetween the 4 of us (Chipman, Priebe, Cornjeo, and Me) we have ALL been companions at one time or the other in the mission. so i am really excited to get going. nervous as well...i sure will be on my knees praying hard for the lords help in everything. 
but some of the past weeks updates just to fill you in quickly and i will try and touch up more on it saturday: but chipman left :( so i was in divisions all week long with other companionships of elders. it turned out really great but also very very tiring. not to mention the weekend. so chip had left but then came back to help out with the rectial musical that we did in tacna this last weekend (well actually yesterday). we were so busy running down to tacna and practicing and returning sunday and really really tiring. when we were trying to come back to moquegua sunday night we got the terminal at 9:15pm and the last bus that left from MOQ was at 8:45pm and we were stuck! we couldnt find any rides and we ended up walking down many dark alley ways and markets trying to find anything to return because we still had to pack everything up and get our room ready for the 2 new zone leaders and also get us all ready to go to arequipa. Elder chipman just met up with his parents about an hour ago and now im getting to work. but crazy crazy trying week we had and will be having from today on. we also had a little halloween party which i will send pics later and for the day of the dead on saturday we went to the cemetery and passed out tons of plan of salvacion flyers and also shined shoes for free for a couple of hours. really had fun with that as well. 
All in all....i am sad that i left moquegua. i had the best zone in the mission, some of my best buds. the ward was sure sad to see both chipman and i leave but we had a good farewell. sad to see chipman and all ton of my friends who just left..but we are in for some great times ahead. i look forward to learning all i can from president and help the mission out with what i can and what the lord wants me to do here in his vineyard of Peru Arequipa. 
I love you all and will talk to you all some more on Saturday. 
Con todo el amor que tengo. 
       Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission
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 As for the favorite violin piece....i have been loving the arraigement of if you could high to kolob. i have both the piano and violin arrangement. i will actually be playing that this weekend in tacna for another rectial musical that we have put together down there with the help of the missionaries down there. Its a bigger stake down there thatn the one we have here in moquegua...and they are recieving professional help from a guy in lima with all the sound equipment stuff....and we are plannning for an attendance of 800 people. they have it all set up so when chipman and i play if you could high to kolob they will be showing pictures of cosmos and planets behind us! gonna be awesome!!! :)
so that is this sunday! 
What else happened down here. We did have our stake conference in which elder uceda of the 70 and the president of the area of northwestern south amercia came to preside and speak to us. i got to again play the violin for that and we had a great time of instruction and learning from him on how we can help out moquegua. President also came down again and we had a great time discussing the topics and how we can hlep the mission out on these matters as well. 
Other excited news for this week: well not really exciting (kinda sad actually) chipman goes home. yep, the man completes his mission. how crazy. its been a great time with him. we have done a lot togehter and have seen many many changes in our area and in our ward. he leaves wednesday morning for i will be riding solo with a temporal or other misionarys for the time being. i am kinda nervous who will be my new companion or if i will be gettting changed out of the area where will i go. all big stuff but, i shouldnt worry. im in the hands of the lord. 
we are never alone. god lives. he truely does. i have never seen him but i know that even though we are but small creations in his infinte universe...our prayers, however small reach that eternal being, whose love for us we cannot even begin to comprender, and he hears us. he knows our needs and he knows what we are going through. remember that the savior is always by your side. though we make mistakes....the savior WANTS to forgive. we can always turn to him. 
we should always strive to make our prayers better and really talk with the lord and then LISTEN! we talked a lot about that this last conference for the stake. 
3 things we can do to help our families.
1-pray. talk with the supreme creator of the universe. dont just say things that you dont mean. 
2-study not just read the scriptures. we must STUDY them.
3-always always alwyas have our family home evenings!!!! 
if we do those things we will always ahve a strong familiy. that is all i desire. really. please do that. my prayers are always with you all. i love you. 
continue on strong. fight the good fight. keep the faith and we will have eternal life. Together as a family.
i will see you next week!!
       Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

Monday, October 20, 2014

Muy Buenos Dias,
Questions on the video....yes there are many. :) haha but i loved it!!! Some of my buds here sitting by me were laughing really really hard :)
Well what to tell you guys. 
We did our second recital muscial again...this time in ilo! We had a great time again! not as many people showed up as the last time but it was the same spirit that was felt. and it was the same wonderful feeling afterwards. my comp is the BEST EVER (he just wrote that on my screen). anyways....  saturday was sure busy for us because we had to go down to tacna and get them ready for their rectial musical the 2nd of november and then we had to travel up the ocean scenic route up to ilo where we had that other performance. i got to play again another violin solo and it was so cool the feeling that i got as elder chipman and i played. this weekend is stake conference and elder uceda of the 70 will be coming to preside over the meeting: and elder chipman and i will be playing along with a chior that we put together of members of the stake. so we are excited for that. 
We also had a baptism this last week! his name is diego and we have been working with him for a couple of months now. his dad is a less active along iwth his 2 siblings and we were able to get their whole family in the church and we rescued his older bro as well. its still dificult to work with his parents becasue they dont want to really come and do that which the lord wants. but with prayer and faith we can do it! 
This change is sure flying by. chipman is going home in 2 weeks...but we are not trunky! we are continuing to find a bunch of people to teach. this last week has actually been really really cool watching all the miracles happen right before our faces. because we for the first time in months we recieved some references and the ward has really been helping us out now. there is an excitement now and we are all on fire to work and find more people. a lot of less actives showed up to church and we were sure excited as well. 
we are working with a sweet lady named modesta who is so close to baptism. i ask for your prayers on her behalf to help her understand the importance and finally take the step in to the waters. 
i have been filled with love. love for the work, love for the people here, love for all of you back home, and love for the lord. i have been trying to renew my testimony and my studies have improved. i encourage you all to renew your testimonies. though we may know and it may seem silly to ask the lord once more if these things are true....i know that if we do, we can develope a testimony even more powerful in these the latterdays and satan will have no power over our hearts. we will abstain sin and want to do that which the lord desires of us. we will become better sons and daughters of the almighty and we will be instruments in the hands of the lord for the salvation of many more souls who are lost. as elder holland has said. santify yourselfs. and watch the miracles from heaven appear before your eyes. 
may we always do what is right. when people are watching and when they arent.
i love you all so much. 
cuídense bastante.
Elder Birtcher
       Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

Monday, October 13, 2014



October 5, 2014
Coming to you live from Moquegua...
Welcome to all of you on the update of this last weeks events.
Well...i am finally here in moquegua again:) haha we sure have been traveling a lot lately. last saturday we went to Tacna (where i started the mission!!!) to help prepare the 3 zones there for their rectial musical that they are doing the 2nd of november and the 25 and the 30th i think...(one for each of the stakes there). we (elder chipman and i) will be playing with them for sure on the 2nd...the others not sure yet, there will be changes that same day. so who knows?? i sure hope i get to play for my old stake on the 30th of nov. and get to see everyone again. i miss them a bunch. 
along the same lines of the recital musciales that we have been doing. the one we did here in moquegua turned out great and we will now be traveling over to ilo the 18th of october to do the same thing over there!! So we got to start really getting prepared for this next saturday. should be great!
Then this last monday and tuesday we have been in arequipa for zone leader meetings with president. i enjoy the cousel that we had and we are really starting to focus our time on the reciente converts to the church. the area is really hitting us hard on the retention and we have created many many things that we are going to start doing here in the mission that will help us do that. we sure had fun taking some pictures afterwards with all my buds and with president. a lot of my friends are leaving this change. so so so sad. really really gonna miss them. especially my comp. we are getting along just great and are really trying to do what the lord wants us to do.  
our investigators are doing well. still need to progress a bunch to gain their own testimonies so that they can gain their own conversions. i have come to realize the importance of true conversion, not just baptisms. the lord does not want baptisms. he doesnt want more people in his church for numbers. he wants his children to be converted so that nothing will shake them. that they will be baptized and STAY active all the way home to the celestial kingdom. not to have us just baptize a bunch and have them linger and fall by the way side. we must see a change of heart in them before they can enter into the waters of baptism. and that we are trying to do. our teaching pool has been a little on the shy side...but i was able to do divisions with one of our district leaders this last week and we went contacting in the outskirts of our area and found some potential investigators that have invited us to come back and teach them and their families. i hope the lord will bless us and help us teach more of his kids. 
this week we were invited to go to a stake presidency lunch with all 20 of us elders and hermanas and really enjoyed that activity. our relationship with the stake presidency in the past here in moquegua has been absoluetly horrible. but ever since priebe, chipman, and i have gotten here we have turned that right around so it has been great to work with them and help the work move along. i was talking with some of the newbies as well this last week about a bunch of different things and really helped me realize all the many many miracles that i have seen here. the mission is wonderful. its the best. wouldnt have it any other way. i have grow to know my savior. he lives. and i am still growing. i still sure have a long way to go. but its a happy road to take. and i lvoe it. 
i hope you enjoyed all the pics. know that i really do love you all and pray for you each and every day. 
if you are ever feeling down or low. cheer up for there is one, a peruvian, who loves you. (i know that didnt rhym...but thats okay :) ) 
we get to watch conference this saturday and sunday! so i am sure excited ofr that!!
give my love to todos. 

Thank you for tuning in to fun times with the birtch. 
till next time from peru.

      Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

Monday, September 29, 2014

Its been a very busy, busy, busy, (did i mention busy) week. This last monday were the changes for the zone and we recieved a bunch of new elders and hermanas here in moquegua. We sent off about 4 and recieved 6 more. we opened up a new area in the zone and have been spending most of the week trying to work in our area and get them all supplied with a room, and all the things that they need to survive over there on the outskirts of the city. so a lot of trips have been made out there to drop off beds and desks and boxes of supplies. its kinda been a pain but i guess it is whatever. 
we also have in the zone 5 newbies fresh from the ccm! 4 of them are from the states that know nothing of the spanish and one of our sisters is from the galapagos islands. them along with our other gringo elder in training makes 6 companionships out of our 10 in total of the zone: training. its a lot! but i am excited. i have been able to meet some great newbies as well that have come here into the missoin. i have the best mission in the world. thats one thing that i love about the mission. you can meet someone in like 5 mins and already be best buds with them and just talk like youve known each other for years. its awesome! but i am super super stoked becasue newbies bring such a big excitement for everyone even though they cant speak or understand the language at all. hope to start seeing some big results here in this next month. 
the stake presdiency has been giving us constant thanks for the special muscial program that we did last week. we along with presdient zobrist are planning on doing the same gig in ilo this next couple of weeks. and it has inspired other areas in the mission to start doing the zone. there will be programs here in teh near future in tacna and hopefully in arequipa. it has had huge effect in the mission and everyone is hearing aobut it. we are now planning as a stake to do service projects and talent show ideas. however, our schedule this next month of october is already full. this sunday...THERE IS NO CHURCH! haha seriously. we will all be inactives. the deal is, there are elections here in teh southern parts of peru and it is ILEGAL to have any meeting of any sort. i guess in the past there have been riots and break outs in fights and trying to persuade people and do horrible stuff in honor oft he elections so....everything has been put on the hold. im all for the fear god more than man deal and go through with the church meetings but....i guess the church doesnt want me writing you all from a prision cell next monday :) so that means we will not be watching general conference until the 11th and 12 of october. SO DONT TELL ME ANYTHING OR SPOIL ANTYHNING BEFORE I SEE IT!!! :) i am super excited for it. 
We also this past week had a conference de zonas with pres. zobrist and the astistents. which turned out wondrful. i was able to feel the spirit so strong and really learn a lot aobut what i need to do to be a better missionary. they specifically spoke a ton on the work of the temple for the dead. i guess i ahve never seen the importance of it before in that way. WE HAVE SUCH A HUGE REPSONSIBLILTY TO HELP THEM!!! go to the temple please!!!! do the work for those who are waiting and who have been waiting for centuries for someone to find their name and go and do their ordinacnes. they will look to us in gratitude or shame in the next life if we do or dont do their work. we are their family....we got to help them. so if you can, sorry, when you can....please set aside time to go to the temple and do the work for the dead. i have never felt more of a desire (the spirit of elias) to do the work for the dead. listen to this coming conference. i am sure the prophets and apostles will be talking a ton about it!! 
i love this work. i love the mission. though i am beat and i am tired. i am happy. i feel the spirit and i desire to what god wants me to do. and i have wonderful family and friends supporitng me. so THANK YOU! i lvoe you all so much. 
our pday today consists of going to a park and having a good ole american BBQ!! i will be grilling up hamburgers for the 20 people in our zone! and we will be playing hte candy bar game again along with soccer and card games! gonna be sweet!!! and next week i will be writing you from arequipa. we have lidership counsel with president. so till then!!
love you all. congrats to kc and gart for the pics. want to see some!! so send like all of them. tell sis. mason hello for me and tell jake mason hi as well. 
con mucho amor,
      Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Dearest Family and Friends:
We just had the best week ever. it was crazy it was so busy but what a wonderful time we had here down in the old moquegua. 
so lets start from monday:
Monday was the last pday of teh change so we obviously did something crazy! We  hiked as a zone to this waterfall which was gorgeous! i have never seen it so pretty. it was a great hike, a great time to spend time together and build zone unity. Afterwards we all came over to the house and had a zone fire with the hot dogs and smores. It was a farewell to 2 of our missionaries who ended their missions this last week. but it was really fun. 
For the middle days of the week: we were practicing for our big event yesterday night which i will in just a second talk about it. we were busy trying to contact new people and get some lessons in. 
on saturday....we were busy getting things together for the muscial programa. and elder chipman and i were asked to help the stake out with the young mens and womens activity that night as well. we got to play a specail musical number savior redeemer of my soul and it turned out really great. we got many comments on it and a ton of people are now asking for violin lessons. :)
other big news....WE ARE FAMOUS!!!
This last week...Elder Birtcher, Elder Chipman, Hna. Romney, and Hna. Aurich went live on the radio!! haha we went and talked on 4 radio stations about the muscial and invited all of moquegua to come and participate with us. I was asked to play the violin on the air and we even got a calll in aobut the event. we had a great time talking to the radio broadcasters and we had fun talking to moquegua!! some of the guys dig into us for answers....not aobut the activity but about the church in general and it was a good oportunity to have a little lesson on the air as well. i got to bear my testimony to everyone!!! :) haha i just hope everyone was listening when we were talking. but we did get a lot of calls from members afterwards thanking us and telling us we did a great job offically representing the church!! 
and for our Activity: Recital Muscial. Sunday 21 September at 5 pm.
Ended up having over 400  perople in the chapel. We filled it!! not a seat was empty and tehy had to open up the overflow in the very back! i got to play a solo piece on the violin and i got to accompany the chior on another. We sang in total 9 special muscial nubmers and what a spirit you could feel. We couldnt have done this activity any better nor in any other zone...seeings how presdient zobrist put 3 violinsts in the zone along with 2 great pianists and great singers!! we were a choir of 36 missionaries. the stake presdiency did a great job supporting us and it brought a ton of investigators in. i think over 30-40!! President Zobrist and his wife also came down from Arequipa to attend the programa and he couldnt stop hugging us nor giving us complements all night long. elder chipman and i were thanked publicly for all our hard work and it was just the best feeling ever!! on our last song we sang called to serve and we asked that all the rms stand with us and sing with the congregation the last verse.....WHAT A SPIRIT! people were crying, and smiling and it was so cool.  we took a ton of pictures afterwards and the members are so excited now to help us. President zobrist told me that we are going to do this if we can at least once a month somewhere in the mission and that i will go and play the violin! i couldnt be more happy!
What a  blessing it is to have music. it brings the spirit. i know that. 
things are going great here in moquegua. i hope to start seeing some great results with the zone. we do have many changes though and a lot of my best friends will be leaving....which i am very sad about. i think i might not see them again until i get back to the states. but we will be recievign many new gringos and newbies here in the zone. 6 companionships in total will be training and we will be opening up a new area which increases our missionary number here to 20 missionaries in the zone. i am happy. newbies bring such an excitement to the zone. and we will be having 6! 
as for other good news....president is taking us all out to lunch here in just a second and i found out that an 18 year old girl that i was working with in tacna way back when....will be getting baptized this weekend! :) no effort goes in vain!
i love you all. i love the mission. congrats to tiffany for getting engaged to my best friends brother, and to kacie as always....great things happening to us in both worlds. love you all. 
hope to hear from you all next week!
Elder Birtcher

      Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mis Queridos: 
Les amo muchisimo. 
Well i guess i dont have much good  stories as far as the work going. We were able this last week to find a lady named Modesta, we were just contacting in the street and this nice lady told us to come back and visit her. Ends up she lives with her little grandson. the little boy, his mom works outside of moquegua and doesnt come back but every month for like 3 days to see him and his dad abandoned him before he was born. Very sad but we got to play soccer with him and the abuelita modesta really enjoyed our company. she did come to church this last week for all 3 hours!!!! that never happens!!!! we were so excited and i spent most of the sacrament meeting trying to keep the little grandson calmed down and quiet. thanks to those mike n ikes you sent kept him pretty quiet :) and i spend the whole time drawing plants vs. zombies pictures. :) but we were excited and our prayers were answered. she is really interested in what we have to say and will be coming back to church with us. :)
as for the other investigators....we challenged everyone of them to come to church and all promised and we even visted them the day before and they still told us they would be coming....AND....none came. we are looking at losing a girl named Doris who is just one of those eternal investigators its looking to be and a kid named diego because his parents will not let him come to church with us. he has all of his asistencias that he needs but still....we need to make sure that we dont just baptize him and then he goes inactive because of lack of family support. our other buddy jose who knows its all true, just doesnt want to act and my good firend edward and his wife karina were working. soo.......we are in that. kinda frustrating but what can you do. we can force them to do anything. i just hope we start seeing the success soon. 
This last week we also were able to go to ilo again for a practice for our specail musical fireside coming up and it is really turning out well. we are excited for the numeros and how its all going to turn out. that will be this sunday at 5 pm. we hope we get a ton of references from all the members and we hope they bring their friends!! i will get you that story next monday. 
as for random story time.... 
So elder chipman and i were dead tired. we were running later than usual to go get dinner and then head back to our apartment so that we could eat really fast, plan and then get to bed at the normal time. so we walk up the stairs and i tried opening the door. and SNAP! there goes the key! i broke the key off in the lock in the door!!! so we had to break into the 2 story of the building by lifting up elder chipman so that he could climb up to the balcony and get in through that door to open up the main door. (dont worry we have done it many times before with elder priebe due to him always forgetting the keys inside! good thing we havent had the cops called on us!! but i think i might become a guy cheer leader. im getting good at throwing them up to the balcony :) ) so turns out we just could get the key out really easy. had to take the whole door lock apart (they are different here in peru, not the same as the states) and had to get the key out. then put the door back together. so our plans to eat, plan, and get to bed fast got canceled and we ended up getting to bed about 11:30 ish pm. 
Other random story....WE MADE TACOS!! our pention bought everything and we made legit tacos. the el pato sauce and the jalepeños sure came in handy and we all loved it! ate way too much!! :) 
And the last we are walking back to our room to grab some stuff before our meeting with the stake presidency as we always do  sunday afternoons...and we see this lady and this skinny kid struggling to lift these big bags of dirt onto this truck to be hauled away. so we run over and asked if we could help out. they were way grateful and we started loading them on. however, there was a BIG bag. so i squat down to not hurt my back and to lift it and i hear an awful ripping sound. HAHAHA I TOTALLY RIPPED MY PANTS IN THE BACK!!! like i mean all the way down! i dont know how the lady and kid didnt hear it but lets just say i was always facing them as i continued to lift bags of dirt onto the truck :) 
i hope you guys are smiling... :)
and that is the update from the hot city of moquegua. know that i love you all and i pray for you each and everyday. i love the mission, my comp is fantastic and we are happy. 
con mucho amor,

      Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission